Kei Nishikori opens up on where he is mentally after brutal luck in 2023 comeback

A month and a half into his comeback, Nishikori found himself sidelined again.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Kei Nishikori opens up on where he is mentally after brutal luck in 2023 comeback
© Getty Images Sport - Adam Hagy

2014 US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori claims he has "accepted" his current situation and adds that his motivation remains the same despite a brutal end to 2023. Nishikori, who was out for 20 months, made his return to pro tennis in a Challenger event in June.

After appearing in three Challenger tournaments and one ATP tournament, Nishikori started experiencing knee issues. A month and a half into his comeback, Nishikori found himself again sidelined as he didn't play any tournaments in the remainder of 2023 after suffering a knee injury in Atlanta in late July.

For Nishikori, who turns 34 later this month, it was all but had an ideal comeback to tennis. "It was a tough year but my motivation hasn't gone away. Feel like I've accepted what's happened and taken it well, and I'm more like fighting than struggling.

My goal for next year is to play Slams again and play through a whole year," Nishikori told Japanese media.

Will Nishikori be ready for the Australian Open?

Earlier this month, Nishikori hinted that he will probably be forced to miss the Australian Open.

"Think I won't be ready in time for the Australian Open. Now my goal is to play Challengers in the US and then to play Indian Wells or Miami," Nishikori told Sports Hochi 10 days ago. Nishikori, who was out for nearly two full years before returning to tennis in June, won the Palmas del Mar Challenger in his first tournament back but then his bad luck struck again. "In June I came back for the first time in a while and played in a few events, started feeling better.

Then my knee started getting worse, and here I am. I had to withdraw from all the event, the US Open that I was really looking forward to playing the Japan Open, and Challengers in Japan, that's really painful. This is a matter of my own body, I know I can't make an excuse, but still these days I feel like 'Hey why couldn't you allow me to play matches, it's enough, it's about time," Nishikori said in October.

Kei Nishikori
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